By Mike Hobart
Gruff, airy-toned saxophonist Joe Lovano and spiky, brittle-voiced trumpeter Dave Douglas have a long history of collaboration – John Zorn’s Masada project and Germany’s NDR Bigband capture the recent range. Their latest joint project, the Sound Prints quintet, celebrates the devious logic and collaborative freedoms of saxophonist/composer Wayne Shorter. The band was a standout at last July’s Copenhagen Jazz Festival, and this gig, with its intricate detail and shifting-sand arrangements, confirmed that the cut of the Douglas trumpet into Lovano’s breathy sax has rarely sounded better.
The genesis of the band lies in 2008, when Lovano and Douglas led the much-praised SF Jazz Collective through a programme of re-arranged Shorter classics. This band, though, captures the Shorter essence with a self-penned set that studiously avoids mimicry. The logic unfolds with unexpected angles, and themes emerge from a mist of improvised detail, but gone are the oblique brushstrokes of the Shorter palette. Lovano and Douglas’s lines are clear cut, sharp edged and border at times on the anthemic.
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